Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Post by Samantha Wilcoxson: Masterworks ~ Historical Short Fiction Inspired by Works of Art

21 November 2023

Special Guest Post by Samantha Wilcoxson: Masterworks ~ Historical Short Fiction Inspired by Works of Art

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

Strolling through an art gallery gives art appreciators a glimpse at the heart of creativity artists from across time and distance have poured onto canvas, into clay, through wood, metal, and stone. Art inspires us and helps us connect with emotions and ideas. But have you ever wondered what inspired the artists themselves? Perhaps it was a loved one, a moment of suffering or despair, a celebration, or a victory. Have you ever wondered what stories these works tell?

Masterworks is an anthology of short stories curated by Historical Writers Forum. This is HWF’s third annual collection, and the 2023 theme is stories inspired by works of art. Eleven participating authors explored stories behind famous works, lives of artists, and even the point of view of a portrait through time.

The artwork I chose for my Masterworks story is a marble statue of Alexander Hamilton that was sculpted by Robert Ball Hughes in 1835. This statue captures Alexander as most of us envision him, in the prime of his life, handsome, and ready to take on the world – or at least Thomas Jefferson. This statue was destroyed in New York’s Great Fire of 1835 less than a year after its installation and after James, Alexander’s son, failed in his efforts to save it.

I am currently writing a biography of James A Hamilton for Pen & Sword, so this short story enabled me to share some of my research and write about James with the freedom of fiction. I enjoyed delving into James’s role as the son of a famous, some might say infamous, father and whether he felt he had lived up to the Hamilton name.

 James shared his father’s intellect and passion for law and finance. His Reminiscences include pages of economic and banking advice sent to presidents and other government officials. He was a quieter man than his father, only serving as temporary Secretary of State and never grasping at a permanent cabinet position. James also was much more diplomatic. Alexander Hamilton famously said too much with excessive candor. James made friends among people with diverse political beliefs and explored Europe making favorable connections everywhere he went.

While writing this story, I was able to include some fantastic lines that are taken directly from the writing of James and his brother, John, such as, ‘Can freedom loving Americans stand before the world as a great republic that holds people in fetters while tyrants free their slaves?’ As the Civil War tore the country apart, the Hamilton brothers boldly spoke out against slavery and in favor of abolition.

This story not only shines a light on James, but also on the era between the American Revolution and Civil War, which I hope causes readers to contemplate how much more complicated of a task it was to form a new nation and compromise on laws and issues that seem non-negotiable to us. As James thinks to himself in my story, ‘It had seemed reasonable to them to leave some problems for their sons to solve. And so here I am.’ Instead of accusing historical figures of failing, perhaps we should be more willing to do our own part in the present.

Stories in this anthology take place throughout history, from ancient Mesopotamia to the 20th century, and feature interesting characters related to diverse works of art. Readers can get these stories and maybe find their next favorite author for only .99 on Kindle or free with Kindle Unlimited.

Samantha Wilcoxson
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About the Author

Samantha Wilcoxson is an author of emotive biographical fiction and strives to help readers connect with history's unsung heroes. Her historical fiction novels include the Plantagenet Embers series, Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl, and But One Life, a novel of Nathan Hale. Saantha also writes nonfiction for Pen & Sword History. Her most recent work is Women of the American Revolution, which explores the lives of 18th century women, and she is currently working on a biography of James Alexander Hamilton. Samantha loves sharing trips to historic places with her family and spending time by the lake with a glass of wine. Find out more at Samantha's Blog and find her on Facebook and Twitter/X @carpe_librum

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